An interview with Mania Mavridou – How to be a successful creative freelancer

Show Notes

An interview with Mania Mavridou – How to be a successful creative freelancer

[Sorry about the sound quality here folks!]

Mania Mavridou is an Architect & Color Consultant, Owner of DesignMania, the Architectural Studio where design meets psychology to create spaces for people to live and work in happily.

In 2014 she founded Designing for Happiness, the 1st Greek blog (and one of the very few worldwide) about Interior Design Psychology.

Having a rich experience in teaching Architectural Drawing and CAD, she now gives lectures and seminars on Interior Design Psychology, Color Psychology, and Visual Marketing.

In 2016 she started writing for Millo, a top American blog for creative freelancers and had been the content curator of The Freelance Report.

In 2019 she founded The Successful Blog, which helps creative freelancers follow their dreams and build a successful business.Creative Freelancers pain points

Today we will be talking about the pain points for creative freelancers’, based on Mania’s experience as an architect.

What’s the goal or dream for creative freelancers?

Attracting the ideal clients who’ll fall in love with them and their work and will pay them what they deserve! Having to deal with dream clients who’ll trust them and will give them the freedom to create, letting them be in charge of the project.

What’s their biggest misconception?

They think that being talented and doing a great job is all they need to make their dreams come true.

When freelancers decide to go out on their own, what reality hits them first?

Once they’re out there, in the hyper-competitive market, they’ll soon get disappointed. There are so many gifted creative freelancers, doing the same things, even better than them. It’s hard to get noticed, stand out and attract qualified clients. It’s even more difficult to get paid for their work and have a decent income.

What do they think the problem is?

They’re trying to figure out what they’re doing wrong, but they’re looking in the wrong direction. They think they must become better at what they’re doing, be it design, writing, photo shooting, web development, etc. They keep on honing their skills and being jealous of those who’ve made it, wondering what’s their secret. But this is just a (tiny) part of the problem. Some of them will never find out what the real problem is!

What is the real problem?

They cannot communicate their value, because they weren’t taught how to do it. Especially creative freelancers don’t feel well ‘selling’ their services or work. They haven’t learned how to run their own business. That means positioning themselves, branding and marketing their business, negotiating their rates, building trust and communicating with clients, contracting, setting boundaries and being in charge of the project, packaging and upselling their services, etc.

What’s the solution to their problem?

They must change their entire way of thinking. They must switch from being their clients’ employees to business owners and experts in their niche. They must learn how to position themselves and market their business to stand out from the competition. Only a few will turn from semi-amateur guys (no title) who accomplish tasks and struggle with low budget clients, to sought after and well-paid professionals and experts in their niche.

What’s keeping them from achieving those goals and succeed?

A false mindset and lack of the right guidance. They hear about building self-confidence and communicating their value, but those are just words in their ears. They don’t realize there’s a lot of strategy behind success and they usually don’t know where to find help.

Raw Transcript

Get ready for freelancing strategies, hacks and tactics to help you skyrocket your success brought to you by Freelancer masterclass calm. You’re listening to freelancing school with your instructor Mike Volkin

Alright everybody thank you for joining me Mike Volkin here lead instructor Freelancer masterclass and host of Freelancer school Today we have with us. avani is a she’s a business coach for freelancers, by the way, and she’s on a mission to help service based entrepreneurs get more clients, and scale sustainably to six figures. And beyond six figures. avani runs her own UX strategy consultancy. It’s called avani mariola strategy and design. I might have butchered that last name, but you correct me if I’m wrong. Welcome to the show.

Thank you so much, Mike. It is great to be here. And I’m so excited to chat with you today.

Thank you. Did I pronounce your last name right?

You got it?

I actually met I haven’t met her in person but I met avani I first knew about avani through her podcast six figure Freelancer actually have it on my phone because I was listening to what is my now my favorite episode here it’s our It’s right here.

Oh my gosh.

You look at the watch the video. Listen to the video using your mind to multiply your income. It’s a good one as you guys know this people who follow me I’m really big on on using the power of your mind and this it’s a really good episode. I really liked that one. And before we talk about some some tips for freelancers, I think it’s important for our audience to understand your background. Can you tell us a bit more about your corporate tech career?

Yes, absolutely. Well, firstly, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. I loved recording that episode using your mind to multiply your income because I think everything everything thing that we talked about I’m probably going to talk about it a lot today it starts in our mind if we’re running a business if we have a career on to give ourselves a raise whatever it is, so I love talking about that stuff. But before we dive into the details, I’d love to share a little bit about my background and also, you know, kind of how I came into this space as a freelancer. So I actually have a degree in Industrial Design and I discovered very quickly in my career, I discovered this wonderful world of user experience and product design and kind of fell in love with it. It’s such a cool space to be in the technology industry is amazing. To you get to iterate quickly. You get to really dig into and understand users if you’re creating something for consumer facing audience and I just really fell in love with it and I got to work in a couple of different places in Austin. I live in Austin, Texas, and I first started at this midsize company called retail me not and they are online coupons and loved working there. Though I was an in house UX designer, and we did everything we did it all we did qualitative testing, quantitative testing, talking to users and user formal user interviews and getting to work with the product team developers, all of that. So I got this really amazing foundation of what it means to be a designer in the tech industry. And so from there, I made the leap to work at this startup called favor, which is a delivery service here in Texas. It’s similar to Uber Eats, similar to doordash and post mates. And it’s called favor delivery. So favor is where I was the only designer as an in house designer. I was the only person I was like, Okay, I have no one else to like, talk to and, you know, figure out what am I going to do? Or how am I going to do it? So it was like this first experience into figuring things out by myself and being resourceful being super scrappy. We didn’t have the budget we had at my previous company to do formal user testing. So I have $500. How am I going to talk People with $500 like all of these things, right, I got the chance to learn and figure out so after a couple years there, I was like, you know what kind of felt like, you know, maybe you’ve experienced this to Mike. But I felt like I was stagnant. I felt like I had learned what I needed to learn. I was at a point where I felt really good about my skill set. I had the career capital. At this point in all these experiences, I decided that I was going to make a leap, and I wanted to get my time back, I wanted my time to be my time. And so that’s when I started freelancing in UX and product design.

I like it. So that is your niche UX product design for midsize or for small companies, which are

actually so my niche is actually it’s almost it’s twofold. We are a UX and product design agency for consumer facing tech companies. So whether they’re big or small, and we’re also the second part of that is and we’re dialing into this a little bit more We are a UX and probably design agency for consumer facing crypto and blockchain technology company. Oh,

crypto. Okay. Interesting niche. All right. So you had mentioned that you like having the time by yourself or, I guess dictating your own time and how it’s been what is your is that your favorite part of freelancing or is it something else?

Oh, man, I don’t know. I love I love being able to nap when I want an app. Although to be honest, like there’s so much going on. I don’t have every day. But I get to do it if I want to do it like today. It’s just that feeling of I could have nap today. Yeah. Or I don’t have to ask somebody, you know whether or not I can go on vacation for example. Yeah, just those little things and having the control and freedom and I can dial up my income or dial it down. I can. I can make as much money as I want to make and I really I really believe money is a tool money is a tool for impact. So I love being able to learn how to do that myself and share with other people.

I know that’s great and nothing is is just as much as a benefit. I have a 11 week old baby at home and I know I need to never nap and now it’s a part of my daily routine, right?

Sounds awesome.

So, given our audience of freelancers, and in your specialty of teaching freelancers, how to make six figures and more, can you leave our audience today with some tips on how to increase their Freelancer income, say $25,000 or more next year that that’s their goal for 2020? What advice would you give anyone out there listening to increase their income 25 grand?

Well, first, I would say to double it.

I know I know.

Okay, but I will I won’t be in that the too aggressive about it. So let’s say that is your goal. Let’s say 25,000 is your goal. I think the thing you have to realize as a freelancer is your most important thing. tivity is business development. Our goal, our goal here, as Freelancer is we’re to get new clients, we’re only going to make money when we have new clients joining our client roster. So that means that needs to be the number one task you do every single day without fail. And this is this is what I know works. This is what I know works for us to get clients and increase income because if I’m not getting a client, I’m simply, you know, I have returning revenue, and maybe that’ll increase it’s possible for it to increase. But I think the number one way to increase your income is to get new clients and of course know how to price yourself that I would say is the second piece to this. So So what I recommend is actually having a schedule in your day to day where you actually blocked out one hour and I would recommend it’s the first hour of your day to be your money making activities. And this is usually its business Development tasks is, you know, writing contracts, having phone calls with potential clients it is. It is figuring out, you know, what is the timeline for this project that you’re trying to land or figuring out? Who is the next set of people that you’re going to talk to to be your clients? Right? Those are your money making activities, and those needs to be the first thing you do every single day that you show up for your freelance business. Yes, if you do that one thing 25 K is going to be a breeze and it’s just the skills will come I think the number one thing to know is the consistency. If you do something every day all the time and you’re continuing to do it, you’re going to naturally start to improve things you’re going to realize like last time, you talked to this client, you said, X, Y and Z and they’re like, oh, no way. We can’t work with you. You’re going to tweak that the next time you know, you’re a smart person, you’re going to be able to figure that out. Yep. I think if you focus in on the consistency, making money, making tasks, your priority, every single day, just start. Start with q4, start with this quarter. We have three months to do this, I bet you can make 25 k before the end of the year if you do it so

yeah, yeah, that’s a great tip I have, I always say in my master class, put it in your calendar and live and die by your calendar because you know, it’s not. It’s difficult because marketing isn’t quantitative and the fact like you can’t see it like you mentioned going doing it every single day I think of it. like going to the gym every day you’ll you’ll see yourself lose weight, you’ll see yourself build more muscle. It’s something you can see and feel proud of. But with marketing, it’s kind of like invisible until you start getting those clients. And then something magical happens when you start getting those clients your marketing like oh my God, this really works. I’m going to I’m going to go crazy and just do this. And then if it doesn’t become an issue, but a lot of people like they’ll start a YouTube channel or start posting on LinkedIn and they’re like, it’s they’re shouting into an empty room. Nobody’s responding to them. Nobody’s watching the videos and they just kind of feel like it’s it’s not worth it, but you got to stick with it for a little bit and Angela, it’ll pay off in the end.

Yeah, sure. Yeah. Absolutely,

we’re both a testament to that. Right? So tell me a little bit about the client magnet roadmap, it seems very interesting to me.

Yes. So the client magnet roadmap is what I’ve been using in my business. It’s essentially the framework that I use in order to have a steady flow of clients coming in. And it’s, it’s simply a set of systems, I would say that you can put in place and they’re really simple. You know, some one of the systems is, you know, being able to schedule in your calendar that you’re reaching out to a certain number of people per week. Yeah. And being able to find a way to demonstrate value for a potential client without you know, going and doing a project for them. I’m doing too much work like we don’t want to do unpaid work, but a simple way to demonstrate value so that they have to say yes, to work with you. So I kind of am breaking these down and giving you a framework Exactly how you can have the steady flow coming in essentially become a client magnet. So it’s a free roadmap that anyone can grab online. If they go to my website of any slash free. Put that

in the show notes. Yes.

Yes, ABA and I am I er ay y Slash free. If you sound on my name, you could figure it out.

Sounds like it’s spelled so yeah, just yeah. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not so. But yeah, so that’s a force is free. And that’s, it’s like an What is it? Like an eight week guide? or How long does it take the complete roadmap?

It’s, so it’s actually a few pages, the quick roadmap and what what it gives you is the steps these are the steps you need to do. But if you’re really interested, like if you’re actually serious about taking this next level and applying it at the end of the roadmap, I give you a link to join a free class that I have, and it’s an ongoing class that I do, which then goes into details like the strategy Jeez, and the things that you can actually take action on based on the roadmap itself. If I want to know more, if you’re serious and you want that 25 k extra, this quarter or in 2020, you grab that you read it, and then you can go ahead and follow the next steps because I want and and the little free class that I give, it’s all actionable steps, you should be able to walk away know exactly what you’re going to do next.

I love it. I don’t like giving advice unless it’s something actionable that they can walk away with. Other than that, it’s just just talk right? So yeah, yeah, that’s why I asked you on because I know you’re full of actionable tips based on your podcast. So how can our audience follow you online? Tell us a little bit more about about where we can get get a hold of you.

That’s a great question. Well, one you can hang out with me over on the six figure Freelancer podcast. I just recorded some really amusing episodes yesterday. And yeah, and it’s all it’s all about, like things that I’m learning in my day to day as I’m running a freelance business, all of these things are connected and

I So what’s the rotation for that? By the way? Is it like every Monday and Wednesday? Or how often do you

Yeah. You got it every Monday, Wednesday, or sorry, every Monday and Thursday. Okay, close close. Yeah. And so that’s one place and then the second place you must hang out with me is on Instagram stories because I’m there all the time. I love hanging out over there chatting with you on the direct messages and I’m always on Instagram stories you can just go to Ave Maria Allah and follow me if you just probably search my first name, you’ll be able to find me and that’s where I share what’s happening the day to day any tips that I like, come up with like today, I found this amazing feature on like, not a feature. It’s an Easter egg and Asana and I freaked out about it and I shared it on so No kidding. Yeah, apparently if you hit Tab be you will get cats on your screen like overlaid on your screen. It’s totally random.

That’s cool, but random. I love that kind of stuff. Yeah, it’s like the secret menu at at In and Out Burger. Calif burger totally

totally we have we have one of those at towards these tacos here.

Oh you do okay cool. I love the secret menus. So I’ll definitely have to follow Freelancer masterclass will be your latest follow on Instagram. That’s great. We got your podcast, you got your your client magnet roadmap, you got a lot of stuff going on. So I’ll let you go do your own thing. And thank you so much for joining us. Let’s keep in touch. Let’s do some more of these. Okay,

I would love it. Thanks. All right. Thank you talk to you soon.

Thank you for joining us for freelancing school. Be sure to subscribe and get the latest updates on the show. Go to freelancing Master to become a master freelancer.

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